World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Henry Godfrey Rupiny Kerali has called on Liberians to diversify the country’s economy to include agriculture, in addition to rubber and mining.
Speaking on “Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation” in the auditorium of the University of Liberia on Friday, August 12, Mr. Kerali highlighted the drastic decline in prices of iron ore and rubber on the world market and advised that Liberians concentrate more on agriculture, especially production of rice and fisheries, and Information Technology.
“For instance Liberia uses $500 million annually to import rice from China and other Asian countries. Why not engage in rice production on your fertile soil to reduce the cost of importation?” Mr. Kerali asked.
He said Liberia’s progress among its neighbors was affected by the Ebola virus and noted that the private sector can be the main area where many young Liberians graduating from universities will get jobs.
According to him, investing in the private sector will help the struggling economy to recover, stressing that businesses that want to engage in the private sector investment will have the needed financial assistance from the World Bank.
Mr. Kerali stated that the private sector in Liberia is still operating on micro and small businesses levels that cannot employ more than five persons, and therefore government should promote private sector investment.
He meanwhile lauded the government for its progress so far, but called for the improvement of roads and energy to help entrepreneurs and farmers to enhance their productions.
Comparing prices of basic commodities in Liberia with other Sub-Saharan countries, the WBG Country Director said Liberia is doing better than its neighbors.
He disclosed that the 8.7% growth realized in Liberia in 2013 dropped during the Ebola crisis (of 2014) and it is now striving to grow at 0.3%.